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Koidanov Hasidic Dynasty

A branch of Lithuanian Hasidism founded by Shelomoh Ḥayim Perlov (1797–1862) after the death in 1832 of his uncle, Noaḥ Jaffe of Lakhovits. Koidanov has, for most of its history, been the smallest of the three Lithuanian Hasidic dynasties (the others being Slonim and Karlin-Stolin). Before the Holocaust, its centers of influence were in the regions of Koidanov and Minsk in Belorussia.

Shelomoh Ḥayim was succeeded by his son, Barukh Mordekhai Perlov (1818–1870), and, from 1870 to 1897, by the latter’s son, Aharon Perlov of Koidanov (1839–1897). Aharon was widely recognized as a scholar of Kabbalah, and under his leadership Koidanov Hasidism experienced a notable, if short-lived, renaissance, as thousands of Hasidim were attracted by his charisma and scholarship. Aharon, who emulated the mystical-charismatic style of leadership of the tsadikim of Karlin-Stolin, also worked to strengthen the small Koidanov community in Tiberias, Palestine, that had been established by his grandfather. He published several classic kabbalistic works with his own annotations, most notably the mystical primer Or ne‘erav by Mosheh Cordovero with Aharon’s supplement, Nir’eh or (1899). He also published the Koidanov prayer book, Seder tefilot Yisra’el or ha-yashar (1877), which included his eight mystical practices for spiritual perfection. This prayer book has been reissued numerous times and is still used by Koidanover Hasidim today. Many of Aharon’s teachings were also preserved posthumously in Koidanover texts and anthologies, such as Hagadah shel Pesaḥ siaḥ avot (1991) and Zekher tsadik (1905).

Aharon’s son, Yosef (1854–1915), was the last tsadik to serve in the town of Koidanov, where he established a major yeshiva, Tomkhe Tsedek. After World War I, the Koidanov Hasidic court, like that of Slonim, moved to Baranovichi, Poland.

Aharon’s brother, Shalom of Brohin (1850–1925), was a prolific author whose publications included collections of the teachings of the tsadikim of Koidanov, Divre Shalom (1882), and a commentary to the Shulḥan ‘arukh. Yosef’s son, Ya‘akov Yitsḥak of Koidanov (1903–1919), who died at a very young age during a typhus epidemic, began to attract Hasidim as a yenuka (child tsadik) and was appointed Koidanover rebbe immediately following his bar mitzvah. Yosef’s youngest brother, Neḥemyah (1860–1927), and the latter’s son, Shalom Alter (1906–1941), served successively as Koidanover rebbes in Baranovichi. Shalom Alter was killed by the Nazis in the Ponar forest outside of Vilna in 1941. A small Koidanov court has been active in Tel Aviv since 1948.

Suggested Reading

Abraham Isaac Bromberg, Mi-Gedole ha-ḥasidut, vol. 20, Admore Nesehiz/Neschiz/Nesrhiz, Lakhovits, Kaydanov, Novominsk, pp. 116–125 (Jerusalem, 1963); Wolf Zeev Rabinowitsch, Lithuanian Hasidism from Its Beginnings to the Present Day (London, 1970).